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Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2001
In my trips through Contemporary American Literature I have not found anyone with better sense for character development than Laurie Colwin. What a shame she died so young! I have read a few of her other novels, but nowhere is this skill better shown than in this work. In this story, a young woman (Olly) becomes a widow after her husband (the `bright and dangerous' of the title) dies in a boating accident. She and her brother in law grieve together, and almost as a consequence they fall in love. This story, explain so succinctly, sounds like it came from a pulp romance. In fact, it is slightly corny in its premise. However, Laurie Colwin depicts the pain, the anguish, the disbelief, and the whole array of emotions that the main characters go through. She does it in such a detailed, intimate way, that I would recommend this book to anyone that is going through a grieving process.
But! I could not give it five start because of Part III. Part I deals mostly with the blow, the sadness and the moving on, and Part II with Olly's new life as a widow in NYC. But Part III focuses on her trip to music camp, and what develops there. Without giving too much of the story away, I do not understand how Olly, now happily in love, could justify her behavior. It is all explained in there, I have to admit that. But my shortcomings as a reader get in the way, and I was disappointed about the ending. In any case, this is a great book, and a prime example of the exquisite skill that Laurie Colwin left us with.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2000
I think this is her best novel, though Happy All The Time is probably my favorite. Shine On.... is the story of Ollie Bax, widowed at 27 by her daredevil husband. The language is beautiful, and Colwin's portrait of Ollie's grief is full of surprises and, oddly enough, comedy. Her language is astonshing in the evocativeness of the detail, which is intimate but never overwhelms her prose. Her descriptions "He smelled like cooked sugar" -- they made me feel like I recognized a place I'd never been to.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 1999
The late Laurie Colwin was masterful at creating stories about relationships. Never sentimental but always deeply moving, "Shine On.." is the story of a young widow and her brother-in-law. You'll never forget this story or Olive and Patrick. A beautifully romantic story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2013
I wanted to have all of her books as my own because I love to re-read them again and again. She is one of the best writers I have ever found and her characters are amazing. Her books always make me happy.
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on March 18, 2015
An interesting story of grief and recovery, with some lovely moments, but not one of Colwin's best. Nothing quite matches the charm of "Happy All the Time," but "Shine On" is an early novel and should be read with that consideration. It feels dated, and the writing is at times redundant and unclear; problematic, too, is the narrator's focus on finding herself in relation to men, however she is young. I'm glad I slogged through it, but it's not one I would revisit.
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on January 27, 2012
No, it's not the best of the wonderful Laurie Colwin (a few quirks here and there) --but it's astonishing in its ability to keep you involved with the characters, and the gracefulness of the descriptions. And yes, it is a wonderfully romantic story.
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on December 11, 2013
Reading any one of Laurie Colwin's books is like hearing a story from, or talking to, a close friend. I would definitely recommend all of her books.
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on October 14, 2014
Laurie Colwin's writings always seem to provide insight for life, as well as entertainment, with the telling of a good story.
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on December 18, 2014
An exquisite novel - beautifully written, beautifully rendered. One of my all time favorites.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2005
Laurie Colwin's Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object, is a slight book [181 pages] with a split personality.

Elizabeth (Olly) Bax is a twenty-seven-year-old widow. Her husband, Sam, was a charming daredevil who one day paid his dues - permanently. Olly grieves, coping with the warmth and awkwardness of family ties and tries to re-establish her own life.

Olly comes to realize that her own risks are just as daring as Sam's - he risked his life and she is willing to risk her heart -and she again finds herself and love - but in a surprising place.

This is a flawed book. It falls into two uneven parts that I had a great deal of difficulty with. On the other hand, it was refreshingly different and the characters were interesting. But either I was having a 'slow' day or some of the sentences were a bit difficult to understand. I found myself re-reading some passages wondering what the author meant.
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